Further Information

Highway Code updated to include 8 important changes to improve the safety of vulnerable road users

This famous slogan is from a public information film of the 70’s in which a car driver is hesitating at a junction, before carelessly pulling out into the path of an approaching motorcycle.  We were asked to “Stop, think once for cars, hold it, then think again for bikes” As a young schoolchild, I remember the shock and awe of the scene played out during the TV adverts and to this very day, I remember this important message.  Do you?

In a markedly low fanfare, the Highway Code has been updated to include 8 important changes to improve the safety of vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

The code has also been updated to include a new ‘hierarchy of road users’. This new hierarchy puts those most at risk in the event of a road collision at the very top of the pecking order.  These changes, which come into effect on the 29th January, are long overdue.  The Brake road safety charity reports that on average more than 22,000 people suffer serious injuries every year, the equivalent of around 60 a day, and someone is killed or seriously injured on our roads every 22 minutes.  Those critical of these important code changes would be wise to think about these terrible statistics.  

The one that seems to have caused the most consternation (amongst angry drivers, it seems) is the updated guidance on safe passing distances and speeds when overtaking vulnerable road users, including

  • ‘Leaving at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) when overtaking people cycling at speeds of up to 30mph, and giving them more space when overtaking at higher speeds
  • Passing people riding horses or driving horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 10 mph and allowing at least 2 metres (6.5 feet) of space
  • Allowing at least 2 metres (6.5 feet) of space and keeping to a low speed when passing people walking in the road (for example, where there’s no pavement)’

We are also instructed to:

  • ‘Wait behind them and do not overtake if it’s unsafe or not possible to meet these clearances’

These folk are mothers, fathers, children...

In a civil claim for causing personal injury or death, a motorist is normally held liable if the court finds that they are in breach of any of the following allegations: 

  • Failing to keep any or any proper look out
  • Failing to see the Claimant in time or at all
  • Failing, whether adequately or at all, to observe or heed the approach of the Claimant
  • Failing, whether adequately or at all, to stop, steer, or otherwise control their vehicle so as to
  • avoid causing a collision with the Claimant
  • Exposing the Claimant to a danger and a foreseeable risk of injury

The changes to the code will strengthen these allegations under the common law.  

As road users, we each have a responsibility to be aware of the Highway Code, to be considerate to others and to understand that we are responsible for the safety of others.   

‘Think Once, Think Twice, Think BIKE, PEDESTRIAN, HORSE’

A link to the changes can be found here.  

If you or a loved one have been involved in a road traffic collision, contact Alma Law today.

∞  01264 355477

∞  contact@almalaw.co.uk




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